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Battle for Freedom
James Hollaway, 8:30 AM, 1775
James was miserable. He had been lying in the mud for an hour, with his eyes staring at the small trail cutting through the forest. The Redcoats would be coming soon, and he must be ready. He would have to alert the rest of the troops for when they must open fire. The ambush was essential. A large revolutionary army had a large camp set up on the other side of the forest, and the Redcoats were not allowed to assault them. The British troops were must better at open field battles then the Americans; and they couldn’t afford to lose the troops; they would need the troops when General Cornwallis arrived.
James suddenly tensed. Through the green foliage, James could see the red uniforms. He took his rifle, and slowly poked it through the weeds in front of him. He turned around and made a few bird calls. In various locations around him James could see the long black barrels of muskets become visible, with their owners looking down the barrel at the target.
James put the musket to his shoulder, and looked at the leader of the Redcoats. The man sat straight up on his white horse. Another man rode next to him, but their undercover spies had informed James’ troops that the second man was just a ploy. James waited until the general was almost in front of him. Then he pulled the trigger. His musket kicked back against his shoulder, and a sharp snap cut through the silence. The man dropped from his horse, without a word of protest.
The forest around James came alive. Multiple muskets fired, and more Redcoats fell to the deadly bullets. The British men were thrown into a state of confusion. James reloaded his musket, took aim, and opened fire again. Another man fell, and didn’t get up.
For the moment, the action of killing had no effect on James. But once the ambush was over, and the scavenging ended, James would be tossed into a deep depression as he relayed the events of the trap.
James shook his head, ridding himself of what he was doing, and he instead thought of Laura. The woman who was back at camp, and she had given up her future to be with him. Rage filled James as he was reminded of the way the British treated his fellow Americans. He poured the powder into the musket, put the lead ball into the barrel, took aim, and pulled the trick. Another man fell, another less man for James to fight later, another man who would never return to see his family.
William Ellington, 8:35 AM, 1775
William ran around in a panic. The bullets were zipping around him, seemingly never ending. William and his fellow British men were trying to form a firing line, but there was no order. Every time someone tried to command the troops, they were gunned down. William blindly shot into the woods. He didn’t wait to see if he had hit anything, William turned and ran and dove off the path. He landed in the underbrush, and hid while he reloaded his musket. When he was ready, he patiently waited for a target to appear.
A man in dressed in rags stepped out of cover, and took aim. William acted faster though. The man in rags grabbed his chest and fell to the ground. William grinned maliciously. There was a reason he joined the military; he loved to be the one on the battlefield, the one in control. He had always loved the wilderness, sometimes leaving his family for days, just to be in the woods and explore.
When the man came from Parliament asking for volunteers to go to the New World, William didn’t hesitate, he signed up right away. Three months later, William was on a ship sailing over the Atlantic Ocean.
A bullet interrupted William’s thoughts of his past. It whizzed right by his ear, and caused him to bring his rifle up to his shoulder. He waited again. His heart felt like it was in his throat. It was pounding so hard, and so fast, William feared they might hear him.
Another man appeared from behind a tree. William pulled the trigger, causing the bullet to fly forward and bury itself into the man’s neck. William reloaded his musket, taking his time. The men fighting him were not soldiers; they were ordinary men, fighting for an unjust cause. The men should be hanged for their treason to the crown, and everyone else should be held under force laws and higher taxes.
There was a shout to William’s left. He ignored it, knowing if he lost concentration, he would lose his life. He fired a shot at an exposed arm, William cursed, the arm didn’t move, so he must have missed. He reloaded again, ready to fire, and help speed up the end of this pitiful resistance.
James Hollaway, 8:40 AM, 1775
James sat back, his back resting against the tree he used for cover. The element of surprise was over; the British were becoming more organized. They were starting to push back the ambush, claiming back the trail. James looked around him and grimaced. He saw less men still standing. The grass in the forest was stained with the blood of the fallen revolutionaries.
James sighed; he didn’t want to die here. Laura would be left, with no one to care for her. No James thought this is not supposed to happen! This must change. With a newfound burst of determination, James peeked around and watched in dismay as he saw multiple Redcoats crossing the trail, and start advancing up the hill to where the revolutionaries were stationed.
James looked over at one of his companions. He nodded down the hill, and when the other man looked, he frowned. The other man looked at James, and nodded. Simultaneously, they stepped out into the open, and fired onto the advancing troops. They shouted in agony as the bullets tore into them. Just as quickly as the two men appeared, they dove backwards and disappeared again.
Once the two men reloaded their weapons, they made eye contact, nodded, and stepped out again. James pulled the trigger and heard his musket crack as the single bullet flew forward. James ducked behind the protection of the tree, and looked over at his partner. But he wasn’t there. The other man was on the ground. He stared up at the sky, his eyes glazed over, and his body lip.
James took a deep breath, and said a quick prayer for the soldier. James felt guilty because he had served beside the man for many weeks now, but had never gotten to know him; James had never even learned his name. James vowed that when he got out of this battle he would make sure that he didn’t isolate himself anymore. James also knew he must do something to protect Laura. He knew the camp was just a mile or two down the path, and that was way to close.
James heard another shout in the distance. There were shouts all over the battlefield, so James had been ignoring them. But this was different; this shout sounded like it came from the forest on James’ right side. The British had come from the left; that must mean someone from camp had arrived and discovered them.
James smiled and shouted in jubilation. He was going to be saved! He was going to live to fight the British for another day, and he was going to go back to the camp and see Laura again.
William Ellington, 8:45 AM, 1775
“No!” William shouted as he saw more men dressed poorly approaching from the opposite end of the path. He recognized immediately that they were reinforcements for the men on the hill. “Take them out! Take them out!” William screamed.
Four redcoats ran forward, trying to penetrate the hill again. Two were taken out almost immediately. The other two found cover behind a fallen tree. They continued to creep forward, going from tree to tree.
“To me! To me!” William shouted at the men around him. About six men rallied to his position, and with this small task force they moved down the path. William knew that they must make a few desperate and extremely risky choices. William was aware that most of the six men he brought with him would probably not return.
They stayed in the underbrush and in the bushes. They traveled as quietly and quickly as they could. After traveling for about one hundred yards, they stopped and set up behind some trees. They waited for about three minutes, and then the revolutionary soldiers came running.
William waved at the soldiers that were spread out; they silently raised their rifles, took aim, and fired. Men yelled out in pain, and the others dove to the other side of the path, and hid in the small drop off. William calmly kept his rifle trained on the other side, waiting for one unfortunate soldier to raise his head just a little too far. Then he saw the cap of one soldier.
William pulled the trigger, and the cap dropped. William looked to both sides and saw one man was already down. And the others were imitating his example, and watching for any exposed body parts. William looked back at the opposing forces, and heard the crack of a shot being fired.
William yelped, and grabbed his shoulder. It felt like his shoulder was on fire. He dropped and lay on the ground, trying to stop the bleeding. He started shaking, the bullet had come so close, just another few inches and he would be dead. Even with his shoulder bringing him excruciating pain, he lifted his loaded musket, and rolled over.
He grunted as he put weight on his bad shoulder. William glanced over the edge of the path, and saw that one solider was exposing his chest, and was too busy reloading to recognize his mistake. Gritting his teeth, William aimed precisely, and fired. The hands reloading the musket stopped, and dropped to the ground.
“Sir! What will we do?” A man whispered to William’s right. William glanced over and saw the man lying behind a fallen tree.
“We fight of course!” William responded sharply.
“We are outnumbered; we shouldn’t have left the main force. We will be ripped to shreds out here on our own,” the man said boldly.
“Then we will take as many of them with us as possible,” William snapped back.
“Yes sir,” the man said defeated.
William looked over the edge again, and took a blind shot at a bush. There was no sound or movement, so William assumed that no one was there.
The edge of the path just a few feet away from William exploded as a bullet pounded into it.
James Hollaway, 8:50 AM, 1775
There was no time to waste. James loaded his musket as fast as he could, and he fired another shot at the edge of the past. He had watched as the British men had snuck off, and he had waited a few minutes, then he had moved higher up on the hill, and gone in the same direction. The revolutionaries were taking care of the British. But James knew that if the reinforcements were killed, the revolutionaries wouldn’t make it.
The musket was ready. He took aim, and shot at another Redcoat soldier. James knelt down behind a tree, and poured the powder, put the lead ball into the barrel, and picked up the weapon. He took aim and was looking for another British man to shoot.
He ducked back as the tree he was hiding behind was struck by two rounds. James’ heartbeat skyrocketed, and his breaths became fast. He leaned his head against the trunk, and tried to cool himself down. The sun was starting to penetrate through the leaves, and James was heavily sweating. Another shot hit the ground near the tree, but wasn’t close enough for James to be concerned.
He peered around the edge of the tree, and saw two bright red uniforms. He hid behind the tree again, and thought of the positions of the two men. In one fluid motion, James spun around, took the rifle up, and fired.
There was a yell, and then silence.
James swallowed, and took a few deep breaths. He looked down his side of the hill, and saw there were seven revolutionaries left. With a quick glance around the end of the tree again, James thought he saw three more red uniforms.
James thought once again of Laura, and his future in this new, free country. He thought of the blacksmith shop he would open, and the idea of raising a family and growing old and having a large family.
With a fierce battle cry, James ran out from behind the tree, and stumbled down the hill. Dirt kicked up around him as bullets hammered the ground surrounding him. When James was just five feet away from the tree, he was hit in the calf. He groaned in pain, and fell to the ground. His leg felt like it had been poked with a red hot metal poker.
“How are you injured?” a man asked.
James looked up from his bleeding leg, and saw a large man with a black beard behind a tree just a few feet away.
“Yes, but we must keep fighting, we’re needed farther up the trail,” James said through his clenched teeth.
“We will fight to the death for this land, we will rip these British barbarians to pieces,” the man shouted with a large, crazed look.
The man jumped up, and fired a shot at the path, and then took a pistol from his belt, and fired another round.
“That’s right British scum! One less of you to deal with!”
William Ellington, 8:55 AM, 1775
Who is this mad man? William asked himself. He will kill us all. We must take him out!
“Now what?” the other man whispered from behind his tree.
“We must take that wild man out, otherwise he will kill us and our comrades up the road,” William explained.
The other man looked over the dead tree, and fired a round at the tree that the large man was hiding behind.
“You missed!” the man yelled, and he started to laugh loudly.
Then it was silent. The two British men sat silently, and scanned the hillside, looking for any opening.
Minutes passed, and yet nothing happened. William crawled backwards, and laid his head down. He rested for a few minutes, preparing himself for the inevitable skirmish that would have to happen soon. William took a deep breath, and thought of the future of this country. With the rule of the king, the country would prosper. Great Britain would remain the superpower of all the other European nations. This land would be used for wealth, and no one would ever oppose them.
“Sir, help!” the other man screamed.
William started to frantically crawl forward to the edge of the path. He peered over the edge and almost dropped his musket. A man almost the size of a horse was running down the hillside, completely undefended.
William brought his rifle up to fire, but the other man was faster. He fired a blind shot in the direction of William, and it just missed. William ducked back down, and almost immediately looked back up. The beast of a man had a pistol in his hand; he hurdled the dead tree trunk and landed on the other British man. He delivered three swift kicks to the man, and the British body went limp.
The beast looked over and grinned at William as he lifted his pistol. William desperately brought his rifle up and fired. William watched as the smile slowly evaporated off the man’s face, and a large red stain grew wider and wider on the man’s uniform. The man dropped to his knees, and tumbled forward, the expression of shock never leaving his face.
William looked past the man and saw a few men running down the path to where his companions were still fighting. William knew better then to fire and attract attention to him; but he did take a small whistle from his pocket and was about ready to make the sharp shrill that would alert the army of the oncoming attack.
Then he heard a pained shout. William looked up and saw the last soldier coming down the hill.
James Hollaway, 9:00 AM, 1775
James ran down the hill, but the pain was unbearable. He tripped, and tumbled a quarter of the way down the hill. He started to limp down the hill again. He saw the monstrous body of his battle partner, and was filled with sorrow. James reached the path, and a sudden movement distracted him from his objective. The sun had hit the shiny whistle just right so attract James’ eye.
James then spotted the British soldier with the bloody shoulder. He was trying to blow a whistle that would help alert the British commander of the oncoming reinforcements. James ran forward and kicked the whistle from the British man’s hand. James took the butt of his rifle and jammed it into the man’s face. The British man fell backwards and a quick look told James that he had been knocked out.
James stood over the British man. He held his rifle aimed on the man. The British man’s life was in his hands. His hands were shaking, and he just couldn’t pull the trigger yet. This wasn’t to be the life of an American; this was not the way they should act. The new government would not have a home for cold blooded murderers. Even in a time of war. James thought about his decision long and hard.
He regretted the decision he would make, but he knew it was necessary. It would eliminate the immediate threat of this man, but would forever cripple the man. James took a deep breath, and fired a single round. Straight into the center of the man’s right leg. It would allow the man to live, if he received the right attention, but would also keep him from returning to battle.
James turned around and walked away down the path, away from the battle. He didn’t look back, his mind was occupied. All his thoughts were on the future. His own future, the future he had with Laura, and above all, the future of this wonderful land.